UN Ocean Conference side event on Marine Litter Monitoring to Inform Action

13 July 2022

In the backdrop of the UN Ocean Conference 2022 in Lisbon, GEO Blue Planet together with the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre, the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and the UNEP Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) organised an event to promote international action on monitoring marine litter. Held in the picturesque coastal city of Cascais on 29 June, the event welcomed 86 participants from 23 countries worldwide. The full-day event, kicked off with an official UN Ocean Conference side event, followed by thematic presentations, panel sessions, stimulating group discussions and live demonstrations.

In the context of the SDG 14.1.1 targets and the UNEA-5 announcement to forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024, the event focused on marine litter observation, remote sensing and modelling as key pillars for supporting the establishment of realistic plastic litter reduction targets and developing policies to reach these targets.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.1 target: “by 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.”

The event also served to advocate the necessity of a global sustained Integrated Marine Debris Observing System (IMDOS) that will work hand in hand with the UNEP GPML to address critical knowledge gaps and other stakeholder needs, including by supporting the Digital Platform. The partnership between the IMDOS and the GPML Digital Platform will enable the accessibility of integrated data on marine litter and plastic pollution by a wide range of stakeholders.

The proceedings from this event will inform the proposed IMDOS Terms of Reference and interim Steering Committee, who will work together with the new IMDOS project coordinator to develop the IMDOS strategy and implementation plan and follow up on the proposed new collaborations between participants under the IMDOS framework. The event also identified actions in support of the UNEP GPML Digital Platform and the associated Community of Practice on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution Data Harmonisation which foster such a co-design process and ensure the accessibility of integrated data and information by a wide range of stakeholders.

This event was only made possible thanks to our speakers, our Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) team via the UN Ocean Decade OceanBRIDGES initiative, our organising committee and the funders for this event – the AIR Centre, and the European Union (through the EU-funded projects EU4OceanObs, which facilitates the GEO Blue Planet European Office and EuroSea).

Visit the event webpage to access the programme, speaker presentations and other useful resources.

Group photo from UN Ocean Conference side event “Integrated Marine Litter Monitoring to Inform Action”, 29 June 2022, Cascais, Portugal

GEO Blue Planet activities on marine litter

The GEO Blue Planet working group on marine litter serves to work with stakeholders at the global, regional and local scales to identify data and information gaps, and provide networking and coordination support to connect the marine litter community. The working group also identifies best practices in marine litter related ocean observations to inform policy recommendations and to measure the impact of mitigation strategies and support the monitoring and reporting of SDG 14.1. The working group, amongst other activities, acts as the interim international coordination office for IMDOS together with the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS)/ International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP). This interim office supports the development of the terms of reference and constitution of the IMDOS by the interim Steering Committee of IMDOS. For more information, click here.